A stranger on the internet sent me an email.
The subject line read: "I have full control of your device".
They began by explaining they had some "bad news" to share with me. Apparently, they'd been tracking my internet activity.
This person said they had installed something called Trojan virus onto all of my devices.
"This software provides me with access to all... of your devices (eg. your microphone, video camera and keyboard)."
I read on.
"While gathering information about you, I have discovered that you are a big fan of adult websites.
"You really love visiting porn websites and watching exciting videos, while enduring an enormous amount of pleasure. Well, I have managed to record a number of your dirty scenes and montaged a few videos, which show the way you masturbate and reach orgasms.
"If you have doubts, I can make a few clicks of my mouse and all your videos will be shared to your friends, colleagues and relatives.
"I have also no issue at all to make them available for public access.
"I guess, you really don't want that to happen, considering the specificity of the videos you like to watch, (you perfectly know what I mean) it will cause a true catastrophe for you."
This stranger had an offer, though.
"You transfer $1500 USD to me (in bitcoin equivalent according to the exchange rate at the moment of funds transfer), and once the transfer is received, I will delete all this dirty stuff right away."
There were then a list of rules.
Don't tell the police. Don't tell any of my friends. If I did, this person said they would share the video to "the public right away".
The first thing I did was copy and paste parts of the email into Google.
It was, as I suspected, a scam.
There was an alert posted from Brown University in the US.
They first saw this email (word for word) sent to recipients in 2018, and since there have been several iterations of it. The sender always claims to have sexually explicit material, and always demands payment in bitcoin.